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Diets for Seniors Who Are Discharged from the Hospital

Diet and nutrition changes as individual ages. Find out how to eat healthy after age 50, while still enjoying food.

Healthy Eating After 50

Diets for Seniors Who Are Discharged from The Hospital

Seniors who have been discharged from the hospital do not always have guidance and follow-up on how to get proper nutrition.

Caregivers should work nutrition into their care plan and be knowledgeable about nutrition guidelines for seniors, and the different factors that affect dietary intake and nutrient absorption.


Follow these three principles to guide your nutrition plan:

1.  Dietary Guidelines and Nutritional Requirements for Older Adults (Source: National Institute on Aging)

The USDA Food Patterns Plan recommends that individuals over 50 eat a variety of healthy foods from the following:

  • Fruits: 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups (Deep colours including berries, peaches, and pumpkin)
  • Vegetables: 2 to 3-1/2 cups (Dark greens such as kale, broccoli and spinach)
  • Grains: 5 to 10 ounces (one ounce would be a small bran muffin or a slice of whole-wheat bread)
  • Protein: 5 to 7 ounces (one ounce would be one egg or one tablespoon peanut butter)
  • Dairy: 3 cups (1 cup fat-free milk or one cup yoghurt)
  • Oils: 5 to 8 teaspoons (Avocado, nuts, and olives)
  • Solid fats and added sugars: Keep these amounts to a minimum. (Cookies, chips, etc.)

2. Be Aware of Individual Nutrition Concerns

Individuals with high cholesterol, diabetes or malnutrition may need to be extra cautious with their diets and follow more strict nutrition guidelines.

  • High Cholesterol: Eat foods with omega-3s such as fish, nuts and avocados. Stay away from foods that are high in saturated fat such as margarine, hamburgers and fried foods.
  • Diabetes: Restrict or eliminate alcohol use to maintain optimal glucose levels. Seniors with diabetes are more likely to be nutrient deficient in vitamins B1, B12, C, D, folate, calcium, zinc and magnesium. Make sure to get foods full of these nutrients or foods that are fortified.
  • Malnutrition: Loss of appetite or difficulty swallowing can make older individuals more susceptible to malnutrition. Add snacks like dried fruit and nuts throughout the day to add nutrients. Add herbs and spices to meals to give food flavour without added salt.

3. Factors Affecting Dietary Intake and Nutrient Absorption

There are many factors that may affect an individual’s dietary intake and nutrient absorption with age.

  • Difficulty swallowing or lack of mobility can make eating and enjoying food more difficult.
  • Medication, depression and isolation can cause a loss of appetite or change the way foods taste.
  • Older adults may not absorb nutrients properly because of slower metabolism.

As our bodies age, our daily eating habits change. Older individuals can make minor adjustments to continue enjoying foods and beverages.

Ted Wolfendale

Administrator at Dial-a-Nurse
Mr. Wolfendale is a graduate of Stetson University, and Stetson University School of Law, and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1988. He is admitted to practice in the Middle district of Florida, is an active member of the Florida Health Law section, and Lee County Bar Association.

In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.
Ted Wolfendale

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